Elizabeth and Ben

Welcome!

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We are glad you are visiting our blog! Throughout our trip we will be updating this page to share our mission and experiences at Msalato Theological College in Dodoma, Tanzania. We invite you to join with us in this missionary journey through engaging with us on this blog and especially by supporting us in your prayers. And if you would like to come visit, let us know about that, too!

We expect to discover much more about our mission and our new community after we depart for Tanzania this August, but here is some initial information about us, our mission, and the community we will be joining:

FAQ

Our Mission

What is a missionary?

The word “missionary” describes a person who goes out into the world to declare the good news of Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. A missionary serves the mission of the Church: to reconcile all people to God and to each other in Christ. When people speak about missionaries, they most often refer to people who leave their homes, and often their countries, to go and share the love of God with others. However, all Christians can serve as missionaries when they witness to this message, wherever they are.

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What will you do?

We will serve at Msalato Theological College in Dodoma, Tanzania. This school trains lay and ordained Christians to serve God and His people in communities and parishes throughout the country. Elizabeth will teach students preparing for ordination, and Benjamin will help manage the computer systems at the school and provide training in computer use. We also expect to work with the surrounding community in many ways, such as participating in the worship and life of parishes in neighboring villages.

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How long will we be there?

We will be serving at Msalato Theological College for the 2012-2013 school year. Our placement goes from August 2012 to August 2013.

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How did you decide to do this?

We actually had each individually contemplated missionary work before we discovered our mutual interest in it. In the last year, as we discussed how we planned to serve after Elizabeth graduated from seminary, we realized that this would be a great time to serve overseas. We are excited about this work because we hope to share and spread the love of Jesus Christ through friendship and service, strengthen bonds with other Christians across the world, and work with the people of Tanzania to form Christian leaders who will help serve and inspire the people of their country.

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When and where will Elizabeth be ordained? Am I invited?

Ordination to the Diaconate

God willing and the Bishop and people consenting, The Rt. Rev. Edwin F. Gulick Jr., Assisting Bishop of the Diocese of Virginia, will ordain Elizabeth to the Sacred Order of Deacons on Saturday, June 2nd, 2012 at 10:30 am at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 6509 Sydenstricker Road, Burke, Virginia (Driving Directions).  All are invited.  No RSVP is needed, though please plan to arrive early to get a good seat.  A reception and party will follow.

Ordination to the Priesthood

Elizabeth will likely be ordained to the Sacred Order of Priests in Tanzania, roughly six months after her ordination to the diaconate.  This ordination, though perhaps harder to get to, will also be open to the public.

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What is YASC?

The Young Adult Service Corps (YASC) is a program of the Mission Office of the Episcopal Church. YASC sends men and women ages 21-30 to serve beside fellow Anglicans all over the world. On their one-year placements, these young adults strive to follow the example of Jesus Christ by serving others as teachers, counselors, development partners, and in countless other roles. By word and by action they declare the love of Jesus Christ to all whom they serve.

More information about the Young Adult Service Corps can be found at: http://episcopalchurch.org/yasc

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What is the Episcopal Church?

The Episcopal Church is the United States branch of the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion is a global family of national churches united by common history and ties to the Church of England. We have about 80 thousand members worldwide, and are the third-largest Christian denomination. As Anglicans, we trace our faith and our ordained leadership back to the first Christian apostles. Today we continue to proclaim the love of God through worship, scripture, and sacraments.

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Msalato

What is Msalato Theological College?

Msalato Theological College is a school that trains lay and ordained people to be Christian leaders throughout the country of Tanzania. Among its courses of study, Msalato offers a 3-year diploma program which prepares students for ordination. There are currently about 45 students enrolled in the diploma course. It also offers a 3-year Bachelor of Art degree in Theology which is being pursued by another 15 students. In addition to these programs, the school offers English-language training, runs a secretarial course, trains students in computer skills, and provides other training and services to the surrounding community.

Watch this video which showcases many of the ministries at Msalato Theological College:

You might also want to check out our photo and video tour of Msalato or visit the school’s website at http://www.msalato.com/.

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Where will you live?

We will live on the campus of Msalato Theological College, which is located about 6 kilometers outside the city of Dodoma. Dodoma is the capital city in Tanzania, although the financial center and many government offices are on the coast in Dar es Salaam. The school is situated in the arid center of the country, where there is little rainfall to support the primarily agriculturally-based economy. The school itself frequently reaches out to the local communities, providing staple foods and other supplies.

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Tanzania

Where is Tanzania?

Tanzania is located on the east coast of Africa. It is directly south of Kenya and north of Malawi. Tanzania is approximately twice the size of California and contains Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest peak in Africa, as well as Serengeti National Park. In 1964 the mainland state, Tanganyika (a former British colony), merged with the island of Zanzibar in the Indidan Ocean to form the United Republic of Tanzania.

Click here to see more about Tanzania’s location in Africa.

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What is life like in Tanzania?

Since we have not yet been to Tanzania, it’s hard for us to say very much about what life is like. In Tanzania, social relationships are very important, and greetings often take half an hour. Religious life is important to the people of Tanzania, which is about 1/3 Christian, 1/3 Muslim, and 1/3 indigenous religions, according to the CIA World Factbook. Worship is vibrant and full of music, and Sunday services often go on for 3 hours or more!

However, there is much need as well. Most people in Tanzania support themselves by farming, mainly subsistence farming. The per-capita GDP in Tanzania is 1,500 US dollars per year, compared to $48,100 in the United States. In the central region where we will be living, low rainfall makes farming difficult and leads to severe food insecurity. Diseases such as malaria and HIV are prevalent, and the average life expectancy is 53 years.

Visit the CIA World Factbook at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/tz.html for more information.

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Where language is spoken there?

Most Tanzanians first learn to speak one of the numerous tribal languages used in the country. The country’s two official languages are Swahili and English. Swahili is the primary political and social language unifying the country, and it is the language of primary education. Most secondary schools and universities, including Msalato Theological College, are taught in English.

We will be tutored in Swahili once we arrive.

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How You Can Help

How can I support you?

First and foremost, your prayers continue to sustain us. As part of the YASC program, we are also required to raise $10,000 a person ($20,000 total). Even small contributions will go a long way to help make our work a reality.

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What does my contribution support?

Your contribution will help make our mission possible. With your donation, we will be able to help train clergy and lay leaders in a church facing a clergy shortage and many other challenges. Your donation will allow us to live among Tanzanians and be a guest in their community. Specifically, it will provide us with the following:

– A small monthly stipend to provide for housing, food, and other basic necessities
– One round trip plane trip each to Tanzania
– Visas
– Immunizations
– Health, life, and evacuation insurance
– Two weeks of pre-mission training
– Language tutoring in Swahili

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How can I donate?

First, please fill out the form at http://www.oneholyname.com/donate. You will then be provided with a form to fill out and mail to Episcopal Church Mission Personnel Center. The Episcopal Church will accept cash, check, or credit card.

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Why can’t I donate directly online?

In order for the donation to be tax deductible, it must be made to the Episcopal Church directly or to another tax-exempt organization (such as a parish church) which will forward it to the Episcopal Church. Currently, the Episcopal Church Mission Personnel Office does not have an online donation form. We are working with the Episcopal Church to provide an online donation form, and we hope to make it available soon.

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…but then, why do I need to fill out an online pledge form?

The online pledge form allows us to know how much we have made towards our mission work. Without the online form, we would be unable to keep up-to-date information on how much money has been donated toward our work.

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I made a pledge online, but never received an email (or I can’t find the pledge form).

You can download and mail in the pledge form by clicking http://www.oneholyname.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/yasc_Donations_form.pdf.  If you haven’t yet made an online pledge, please do that first by visiting http://www.oneholyname.com/donate/, so that we are able to track how much we have raised.

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Is my donation tax deductible?

Absolutely.  Your donation is 100% tax-deductible.  You will receive a receipt from the Episcopal Church (or if you donate through a parish church or other organization, from that organization).

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About this website

What is the purpose of this website?

Since we will be living so far away, we decided to start this blog so that our friends, family, and supporters can remain connected to our mission.  Once we are abroad, we will update our blog with posts and pictures several times a week.  In the meantime, we will occasionally post our reflections and provide updates about our fundraising and preparations.

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What is the main picture on the front page of the website?

The picture is of an Acacia tree on the campus of Msalato Theological College, where we will be working and teaching.

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Why is the blog named “One Holy Name”?

The blog title was inspired by the hymn, “The Church’s One Foundation,” which proclaims the unity of Jesus Christ’s Church in every time and place in Heaven and on Earth.   However different the joys and challenges American and Tanzanian Christians may face, we all call upon the same Holy Name.

The Church’s One Foundation: Words | Video/Audio

 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,  but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.  Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

St. Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians, Chapter 2: 5-11 (RSV CE)

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Author: Elizabeth Locher

Elizabeth Locher is a deacon and teacher at Msalato Theological College in Dodoma, Tanzania. She and Ben got married in 2010, after her first year at Virginia Theological Seminary. Now she is thrilled to have the opportunity to be walking with Tanzanian students through the rich spiritual formation of seminary!

One Comment

  1. We have just returned from 2 weeks visiting friends at Msalato and it is place we would go back to tomorrow. We have enjoyed reading your blog and hope to see many updates during your time there.

    We know you will find your time there rewarding and a gift from God

    God Bless you Both
    Jess & Evelyn
    Australia

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